Indian no more

Charlene Willing McManis, 1953-2018

Book - 2019

When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Published
New York : Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc [2019]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
211 pages : illustrations, map ; 20 cm
ISBN
9781620148396
1620148390
Main Author
Charlene Willing McManis, 1953-2018 (author)
Other Authors
Traci Sorell (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Regina Petit knew she was Indian because she had a tribal roll number—3669. But in 1954 when the Umpqua, along with other tribes along Oregon's Grand Ronde had their tribal status terminated by the federal government, she was left with an empty sense of who exactly she was. With jacked up prices forcing them off their tribal land and no more government protections, the Petit family took up the Indian Relocation Program's offer of opportunity and new beginnings. What begins as a story of displacement quickly turns into a story of childhood fun and antics colored by Umpqua culture and the racial tensions of the civil rights movement set in the lively and culturally diverse city of L.A. Regina's character is thoughtful and hesitant as her father encourages their family to embrace their "Americanness," while her younger sister, PeeWee, dives head first into their new community. While Regina struggles to make sense of her Indianness in L.A. throughout the book, her grandmother, Chich, grounds her in Umpqua folklore and history, helping her to understand the strength and resilience of her people and that that strength cannot be dictated by land. Included are a glossary of Chinuk Wawa terms, and notes from the co-authors, as well as images of the Grand Ronde Tribal Land and of the author's childhood. Grades 3-6. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Regina Petit knew she was Indian because she had a tribal roll number—3669. But in 1954 when the Umpqua, along with other tribes along Oregon's Grand Ronde had their tribal status terminated by the federal government, she was left with an empty sense of who exactly she was. With jacked up prices forcing them off their tribal land and no more government protections, the Petit family took up the Indian Relocation Program's offer of opportunity and new beginnings. What begins as a story of displacement quickly turns into a story of childhood fun and antics colored by Umpqua culture and the racial tensions of the civil rights movement set in the lively and culturally diverse city of L.A. Regina's character is thoughtful and hesitant as her father encourages their family to embrace their "Americanness," while her younger sister, PeeWee, dives head first into their new community. While Regina struggles to make sense of her Indianness in L.A. throughout the book, her grandmother, Chich, grounds her in Umpqua folklore and history, helping her to understand the strength and resilience of her people and that that strength cannot be dictated by land. Included are a glossary of Chinuk Wawa terms, and notes from the co-authors, as well as images of the Grand Ronde Tribal Land and of the author's childhood. Grades 3-6. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Set in 1957, as the U.S. government's Indian Relocation Program went into effect, this autobiographical novel was written by the late McManis, of Umpqua heritage and a formerly enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and completed after her death by Sorrell, an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Ten-year-old Regina Petit's family moves to Los Angeles after their Umpqua tribe, along with all Oregon tribes, is terminated. Displaced to a small house in a crowded neighborhood, the Petits—Daddy, Portuguese Mama, grandmother Chich, younger sister Peewee, and Regina—confront stereotypical views of Native Americans held by their new friends, including black, Latinx, and white people. Regina struggles with her Native identity as she experiences Halloween—during which a racist attack leaves her bewildered—and Thanksgiving for the first time. The authors' depiction of valiantly optimistic Daddy as a man who is unwilling to be defeated by discrimination is especially strong; other characters, while sympathetic, have less dimension, and two significant family events are given little heft. A personalized look at a significant moment in U.S. history, the book closes with extensive back matter, including McManis's author's note and family photos. Ages 8–12. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—Regina Petit and her family are Umpqua, living on the Grand Ronde Tribe's reservation in Oregon, until the U.S. government enacts a law saying that her tribe no longer exists. Ten-year-old Regina can't comprehend what is happening to her family and how they can have their Indian heritage taken away from them. Forced to move with her parents, grandmother, and younger sister, PeeWee, to Los Angeles, Regina finds her world turned upside down. Daddy believes that the 1957 Indian Relocation Program will provide their family with a home, schooling, a good job, and opportunities, while Chich (Grandma) is more doubtful, calling their relocation an eviction. Mama tries to keep her chin up for her family, but she just wants to go back home. Regina and PeeWee try to acclimate to their new neighborhood and school but find ignorance and racism toward Indians prevalent. New friends Keith and Addie are a bright spot for the Petit children, but as black children, Keith and Addie also face racism. Daddy tries to put on a brave face for his family, working hard to get ahead, only to discover that education and hard work aren't necessarily enough. The family's struggles are not sugarcoated; readers see the reality of Daddy's despair and anger as Mama tries to hold the family together. In the midst of it all, Chich carries forward their tribal stories. In this book based on McManis's own childhood experiences, the family is fictionalized to show how older children might react to being uprooted and plopped down in a foreign world—McManis was one year old when the government declassified her family's tribe. McManis died before finishing the novel, entrusting Sorell to finish her story. A lengthy author's note from McManis offers relevant history with which readers may be unfamiliar, along with family photos from this time. Also discussed in the note is the relevance of President Ronald Reagan changing the laws in 1983, enabling the restoration of tribes that had been terminated. VERDICT Readers will be moved as they become invested in Regina's predicament. Is she still Indian, American, or both—and what does that mean for her and her family?—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In 1957, ten-year-old Regina Petit's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and forced to leave Oregon, but in Los Angeles her family faces prejudice and she struggles to understand her identity as an Indian far from tribal lands. Includes historical photographs and notes.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes "Indian no more" overnight--even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations. With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina's father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She's never met kids of other races, and they've never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends. Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it's not that easy. It's 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?